First Home BuyerIt’s not easy being a first home buyer in today’s world?

Buying your first home can be one of the most stressful experiences of your life.  I can recall how stressful it was for me when I purchased my first home.  It was almost 30 years ago now, and property prices were a hell of a lot cheaper back then than what they are today.

In my 10 years as a mortgage broker I have worked with dozens of first home buyers, and the questions they are asking me today are the same questions I was asking 30 years ago when I was purchasing my first home.

For most of us, buying a home is the largest purchase we’ll ever make in our life. It is both an emotional and personal experience.  When emotions are involved there is a possibility they will get out of hand and wreak havoc.

If I were buying a home today, the first thing I would do is select a team of experts to guide me through the experience.  Therefore, I would encourage you to do the same.

The team in no particular order:

  • Parents – You can’t buy their years of wisdom and experience.
  • Are you entitled to the First Home Owner Grant, for more information on the FHOF please go to
  • Mortgage Broker – It is vital that you understand how much you can borrow and how to present yourself in the best possible light to the banks.  For more information on the benefits of using a Mortgage Broker please go to why-use-a-mortgage-broker.
  • Conveyancer / Solicitor – Having someone to vet the contract of sale before you put pen to paper is time well spent. You would not wish, after signing a contract, to find that it is fraught with unforeseen and nasty clauses.
  • Buyer’s Advocate – A Buyer’s Advocate is someone who specialises in wheeling and dealing all day and everyday with Real Estate Agents. These unique advocates do the heavy lifting for you, from the searching, attending the open for inspections, to the negotiating.  A Buyer’s Advocate takes the stress out of buying a property and all you have to do is say yes or no.
  • Building & Pest Inspector – Knowing what you are getting before you get it is crucial to success. With the average first home buyer spending approx. $600,000.00, spending a few extra dollars on a building and pest inspection can save you thousands of dollars and stop you from buying an absolute lemon of property.
  • – The search engines today provide so information about the suburbs you are looking at, everything from number of schools, shops, cafes, walkability, to recent sales, estimated value of the property and potentially, what the vendor paid when they purchased the property.  To find out your post codes walkability rating please go to
  • Financial Planner –As houses are expensive to buy, people are having to borrow huge sums of money, so having a risk strategy in place just makes common sense. Therefore, I would encourage you to have a conversation with your Financial Planner to ensure you have the appropriate strategies in place to protect you, your lifestyle and family home.

The Best Advice

The best advice I can give my first home buyer clients, is, do your research and get to know the property market in the area you want to buy in, like you know the back of your hand.

I believe you should view as may open for inspections as you can in your preferred the area and to follow each property through to the day it sells.  I also stress not to worry about the price range of the viewed properties or whether or not you would consider buying such properties.

The purpose is to get to know what people are prepared to pay for properties in your ideal location and what they are selling for. I recommend that you keep a property journal and make notes on each property you inspect in a format not dissimilar to how a property valuer would for a bank i.e.

Use the first property you inspect as your gauge and thereafter use it as a comparison with future inspections.  Make a note of the advertised date, address, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, number of car spaces, land size, the advertised price and the eventual selling price.

I would also encourage you to draw comparisons between each property i.e.:

  • Location – Superior, inferior or similar
  • Fit out – Superior, inferior or similar
  • Dwelling size – Superior, Inferior or similar
  • Notes –e.g. overall this property is superior or inferior to such and such address.

Biggest Mistakes People Make

One of the biggest complaints clients voice to me is the constant under-quoting of property values by the selling Agents.

Agents have been under-quoting for years and no matter what regulations the Government introduce, they still find a way to continue to do so which is both deceptive and frustrating.  Therefor the best solution is for you to know the market.

Thus, when a property pops up that you would like to call home and want to make an offer, you will already know if it will be in your price range and whether the selling Agent is under-quoting the value of the property.  This way you have control and you can decide whether to invest your time and emotions.

In my experience, under-quoting can cause first home buyers both stress and emotional disappointment. You look for months on end; your week nights are spent trolling through and your weekends are consumed by open for inspections.  Eventually when you find your dream home, it is hard for people to not become emotional attached and mentally start living in the property.

The next thing people do is ask the selling Agent what they think the property will sell for.  Big mistake.

This is where the trouble begins, if the range the Agent quotes you is within your budget and you are not familiar with the market you may just get your hopes up only to be disappointed 4 weeks later when the property sells for tens of thousands of dollars more than quoted at auction or through private sale.

The Agents works for the Vendor and their job is to get as many people as they can to the auction and hope hysteria takes hold and a bidding war takes place.  If the property is up for private sale, then their job is to get you to put pen to paper, knowing that once you have made an offer, your emotions will be running wild and you just may pay more than you hoped to.

It is for the above reasons that I strongly urge that you get your team of experts in place.

Declan Hanratty  Managing Director

M: 0409 089 456  F: 03 9416 1916  ABN: 19 880 907 430  POSTAL:  PO Box 1551  COLLINGWOOD  Victoria  3066 MFAA Membership No.  50217  Australian Credit Licence No. 383120  Australian Financial Complaints Authority No. 42572